Tuesday, February 15, 2011

!Mumford and Sons!/ Bob the jazz singer / Maggie's Farm

(from "The Jazz Singer," 1927)

Listen to Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers first, if you haven't heard this already, and then watch as Bob comes on at 5:09, miming with his arms the ghost of Al Jolson.

Curious, I found the following in this article about the film, "The Jazz Singer":

As he finishes the jazzed-up song 'Blue Skies,' his stern father enters, sees the pair, expresses deep upset, and shouts "Stop!" (not a title this time). (The film returns to its silent-type nature following the outburst.) Sara questions her husband's speechless reaction: "Papa, have you no word for your son?" The elder Cantor glares: "You dare to bring your jazz songs into my house! I taught you to sing the songs of Israel - to take my place in the synagogue!" Jack tries to get his father to understand his more contemporary viewpoint: "You're of the old world! If you were born here, you'd feel the same as I do - - tradition is all right, but this is another day! I'll live my life as I see fit!"

His traditionalist father can't believe his disrespectful son: "You talk that way to a Cantor - - it's sacrilege!" Sara attempts to soothe the two of them: "Don't forget, Papa, it's your birthday - - and Jakie's come home." Jack has remembered his father's birthday with a present: "And I didn't forget it was your birthday, Papa" - it's another prayer shawl. Jack wants his father to know about his great success: "I'm doing fine, Papa, and I'm going in a big Broadway show." His father is shocked to know that he deeply loves jazz music and performs profane music: "A singer in a theatre - you from five generations of Cantors!" Jack defends his music: "You taught me that music is the voice of God! It is as honorable to sing in the theatre as in the synagogue! My songs mean as much to my audience as yours to your congregation!"


The Solitary Walker said...

Mumford and Sons have been causing quite a stir over here in the UK.

Interesting how, universally, sons always seem to want the approval of their fathers, isn't it? I looked for this myself, and I suppose I did get it from my own father - in a grudging, obstreperous kind of way.

Though I think love is more important, and even more sought, than approval. And the last words my father spoke to me were: 'I do love you, Robert'. I treasure that.

am said...

A resonating treasure, those words from your father, Robert. Thank you for leaving this moving comment.